J. Steven Whisler Head of Mining Engineering Endowed Chair
WILLIAM M. ZISCH
Over forty years of broad-based development and increasing levels of responsibility have allowed for the application of progressive ideas with a history of demonstrated professional and personal leadership capability. International mining and plant operational background coupled with commercial and corporate assignments, a unique business schooling experience, and extensive budgeting, planning and cost control applications provide a strong foundation for the development, support, and implementation of corporate strategy, operational excellence, business development and business execution at the Executive level.
ARGONAUT GOLD, a junior Canadian company engaged in exploration, mine development and production with three operating mines in Mexico and challenging prospective development properties in Mexico and Canada.
Chief Operating Officer Nov 2016 to Nov 2019
Brought in as COO to establish safe and reliable delivery of strategic growth. Mexican assets consisted of two previously operated, low grade, short lived mines, a start-up mine and a development asset in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
· While improving safety and environmental practices and compliance, increased 2016 production of 122k to 187k ounces in 2019 overcoming a resource shortfall at its oldest mine and starting-up a nearby ‘satellite’ mine.
· Improved reliability of operational planning process and led development of 43-101 compliant reserve statements at all Mexican projects.
· Led effort to re-vamp permitting process for permitting of Baja California Sur project. Focused on quality of technical analysis and gaining broad social license to operate.
MIDWAY GOLD, a junior development company with three primary assets located in Nevada advancing to producer status with the commissioning of the Pan Mine; an oxide, heap-leach project near Eureka, Nevada.
President and Chief Executive Officer Dec 2014 to Nov 2016
Joined Midway in December, 2014 with anticipation that production would commence in late January, 2015. In January, uncovered operating and technical challenges that indicated increased capital costs and led to a delay of first gold production to late March, 2015. A resource restatement along with low gold recovery led to further and significant financial challenges. Pursued capital raise options to meet revised project development needs, however, production shortfalls eventually led to a June, 2015 filing for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
· Used external, third party professionals to review and evaluate technical and operating challenges
· Secured subordinated debt facility after pursuit of alternative financing options proved unsuccessful
· Working with financial and legal advisory teams, developed strategy and plan to exit bankruptcy
ROYAL GOLD, a leading precious metals royalty and streaming company that owns and manages royalties primarily on precious metals mines, with a focus on gold.
Vice President Operations Mar 2009 to Dec 2014 Managed Royal Gold’s portfolio of more than 35 producing, 22 development, 130 evaluation and exploration stage royalties located in some of the world’s most prolific gold regions.
· As an officer of the Corporation, participated in all aspects of running a public company including; quarterly earnings calls, analyst/investor conferences, public offerings and regulatory compliance.
· Managed value realization from operating and exploration portfolio through execution of royalty monitoring program and reserve/resource statements
· Led team of internal and external resources to complete technical due diligence on all acquisition opportunities
· Led the asset and personnel integration following the acquisition of a major competitor
NEWMONT GOLD COMPANY, one of largest gold producers in the world with production of up to 7 million ounces per year and annual sales of $2.3 billion from operations in North America, Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia, Australia, Uzbekistan and Ghana.
Vice President Planning Mar 2007 to Mar 2009
As part of the Company’s Senior Leadership Team, responsible for all aspects of Global Business Planning including Budgeting, Forecasting, and Operational, Capital, and Strategic Planning.
· Re-designed and implemented the Company’s Operational, Capital and Strategic Planning process to begin the transformation to a planning organization and to initiate planning at a portfolio level.
· Completed a global Operational Diagnostic exercise for the new CEO and used that baseline to establish an Integrated Management Process to ensure the development and execution of reliable operating plans.
Newmont Ghana Gold, Accra, Ghana Two green-fields development projects (Ahafo, Akyem) representing a capital investment of $960 million with targeted production of 800k to 900k ounces per year. Foundation of successful project development used to expand exploration and business development in Africa with a focus on the West African Region.
Zarafshan – Newmont Joint Venture, Muruntau, Uzbekistan Operating partner of four stage crushing and screening for heap leaching and Merrill-Crowe recovery from low grade oxide ore stockpiles generated from the Murantau open pit gold mine.
Vice President Africa/Central Asia Operations Sep 2005 to Mar 2007
Group Executive/Managing Director , West African Operations Oct 2003 to Sep 2005
Executive in charge of regional operations and business development. Responsible for all aspects of construction and start-up of two green-field gold projects in Ghana. Responsible for the development and execution of a West African Business Strategy to lead Newmont’s re-entry onto the African continent.
· Successfully concluded unique investment agreement with Government of Ghana and established project and regional team.
· Two year reserve development expansion from 12 M to 16+ M ounces in Ghana Projects
· Facilitated completion of agreement with national provider for infrastructure and supply of power
· Developed projects to meet post Extractive Industries Review (EIR) International Finance Corporation (IFC) social and environmental standards as part of project financing package
· Restored partner relationship to allow for the amicable purchase of minority interest that increased project NAV
· Completed 30 month construction and start up of $475 M Ahafo mine; on schedule and within forecasted expenditure level
Minera Yanacocha S.R.L., Cajamarca, Peru, Latin America´s largest gold mine located in Northern Peru with annual production of over 2 million ounces and production costs below $140 per ounce
Operations Manager Jan 2001 to Oct 2003
Installed as Operations Manager after quarterly shortfall (20% below target) in production. Successfully closed two-thirds of production gap by mid-year and implemented a plan for full recovery of planned gold production for year-end 2002. Responsible for mine operations, mine development, process operations, engineering, operations training, long term planning, safety, environmental, and organizational development
· Revised organizational structure and staffed to meet expectations
· Championed externally supported efficiency improvement effort
Assistant General Manager Mar 2001 to Dec 2001
Senior Expatriate responsible for long term planning, safety, environmental, and organizational development. Tasked with infusing improved general business planning for the site and oversight of standards of performance and management
· Led mine team that participated in a third party facilitated conflict resolution/dialogue process with the local community
· Supported the implementation of a culturally aligned safety system
· Managed the elimination of environmental backlog while addressing pressing environmental needs primarily in the areas of water quantity and quality concerns of the surrounding communities
Newmont Gold Company, Corporate Office, Denver, CO
Director, Business Development and Planning Jun 1998 to Mar 2001
Responsible for leading the development of corporation’s long term business plan and annual budget to meet established strategic goals. Directed the corporation’s capital allocation process and provided financial analysis of proposed projects and of merger and acquisition opportunities
· Redesigned corporate planning process and successfully implemented changes to develop a plan to maintain profitability while responding to prolonged low gold prices
· Developed a corporate financial modeling tool for rapid evaluations and sensitivity analysis
Project Manager, Business Process Redesign Jul 1997 to Jun 1998
Responsible for leading and managing a corporate exercise to redesign business processes
· Transitioned the process from being consultant led to company led in three months
· Successfully extended the focus from corporate headquarters to operating sites
Chief Mine Engineer, International Operations Jun 1997 to Jul 1997
Provided operational and financial analysis of international operations and coordinated the resolution of operational issues with and for senior management
FMC CORPORATION, a diversified Fortune 150 industrial firm with sales in excess of $4 billion and over 23,000 employees
Chemical Group Headquarters (FMC), Philadelphia, Industrial, Agricultural, and Specialty Chemical Groups with total sales of $1.9 billion
Manager of Strategic Sourcing 1996 to 1997
Responsible to establish, negotiate, administer and implement long term national alliance agreements with key suppliers in specific procurement areas across all Chemical groups
· Began implementation of value added (non-price) components of completed strategic sourcing agreements that included mechanisms for supplier accountability
· 1996 actual savings of $7 million ($10 million annualized) on parts and services spending of $100 million
· Designed and facilitated forum to provide constructive interaction between key supplier and group-wide maintenance effectiveness organization
· Implemented plan for full realization of maintenance and engineering related cost savings of partnership type agreements
· Insured full implementation of procurement excellence task force to minimize MRO cost
Carteret (FMC), New Jersey, Phosphorus burning plant completing the process as a vertically integrated manufacturer of Phosphate Chemicals
Operations Business Manager 1993 to 1996
Responsible for all operational aspects of Sodium and Potassium Phosphates and Phosphoric Acid production while providing Division level contact as Manufacturing’s representative to Marketing led Business Teams and to all customers
· Contributed to the development of a marketing strategy to gain share in the meat, seafood and poultry segment of the food treatment market and insured operational ability to deliver against the strategy
· Coordinated compaction/re-sizing of product to meet customer requirements (new product development)
· Provided leadership role in joint Union/Mgmt organizational re-design effort and subsequent labor negotiations including role as company spokesperson during crucial phase of labor contract process
· Provided lead role in developing business and operational strategy in response to threat to plant viability.
· Included development and use of plant profitability model driven by accurate product costing
· Successfully completed consolidation of Acid and Phosphate Business Manager Positions and elimination of need for Maintenance Manager Position
Paradise Peak Mine (FMC Gold), Hawthorne, Nevada, Multi-pit, mill and heap leach gold and silver operation moving 12 million TPY with production of 200 thousand oz gold and 3.5 million oz silver annually
Mine Manager 1990 to 1993
Responsible for directing production and engineering/ore control efforts and coordinating shared responsibility for centralized maintenance department. Operating responsibility for up to 125 individuals and a $20 million budget
· Led mine expansion from 7.5 MTPY to 12 MTPY and reduced unit operating cost while under constraint of staying with 50 ton truck fleet
· Maintained high level of operator training and employee involvement in direct cost control in order to maintain flat real cost over life of mine
· Directed innovative responses to significant unexpected events (highwall instability, in-pit water, and “hot-holes”) during the last two years of operation while meeting production requirements, maintaining positive mine economics, and safe operations.
· Successfully managed contractor and engineering support to extract satellite pit reserves and exceed expectations of marginally economic project
Human Resources Manager 1989 to 1990
Completed developmental staff assignment responsible for all Human Resources functions of 250 person operation with an all salaried, multi-skilled technician, team based, non-union workforce
Mine Operations Superintendent 1987 to 1989
Responsible for all production aspects of 7.5 MTPY multi-pit surface hardrock operation feeding mill and heap leach processing facilities
Skull Point Coal Mine (FMC), Kemmerer, Wyoming
Chief Mine Engineer 1985 to 1987
Responsible for all engineering (design, production planning), environmental compliance (regulatory contacts and permit development), and coal quality (sampling and testing) aspects of 1 million TPY surface mine operation
Sr Mine Engineer 1981 to 1985
MORRISON-KNUDSEN COMPANY, INC. Boise, Idaho, Construction, contract mining, operations engineering
Mine Engineer 1980 to 1981
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado
B.S. Mining Engineering, December 1979
The Wharton School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
Master of Business Administration (Executive MBA Program), May 1996